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Celebrating 12 Days of Sport – 2023

Dark green graphic with various coloured dots on the bottom of the image. It reads "12 Days of Sport"

As 2023 comes to an end, Sask Sport is looking back on some of the sport highlights covered this past year.

Day 1 – Renewed Lottery Agreement

For the first day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we express gratitude for the re-signing of the Lottery Agreement in Saskatchewan.

On May 11, the Government of Saskatchewan, Sask Sport, SaskCulture and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association signed a renewed lottery distribution agreement, continuing a longstanding and successful partnership. The renewed agreement guarantees that proceeds from lottery ticket sales will continue to support sport, culture and recreation across the province for the next six years and has made the following 11 Days of Sport possible.

Day 2 – Parapan American Games and Pan American Games

For the second day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we are celebrating the numerous individuals who traveled from Saskatchewan to represent Canada in Santiago for the Pan American and Parapan American Games.

Saskatchewan had 21 athletes, three coaches, as well as seven support staff and officials in attendance. Saskatchewan athletes brought home a total of 16 medals between the two Games, nine of which were gold.  

Three athletes received two medals at the Parapan American Games, with Paralympian Keely Shaw claiming a silver medal in Para cycling. Nik Goncin and Garrett Ostepchuk won bronze with the Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team. 

Among the many successful athletes at the Pan American Games, Saskatoon’s Blake Tierney was the most decorated from Saskatchewan, claiming five medals in swimming, while Tammara Thibeault, who grew up in Regina, won gold in women’s 75-kilogram boxing and qualified for Paris 2024.  

Day 3 – Outstanding Officials

On the third day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we want to recognize the countless officials who help make sport safe and fun for all participants.

Here are three officials who rose through the Saskatchewan ranks to work some of the biggest sport events nationally and internationally this year.

Tim Kroeker attended the 110th Grey Cup as head referee, making a championship appearance for the sixth time. Troy Semenchuk joined Kroeker as umpire for his second Grey Cup. Meanwhile, on the diamond, Stu Scheurwater is the only Canadian among Major League Baseball’s 76 full-time umpires and was selected to officiate at the World Baseball Classic in Japan.

Day 4 – Welcome New Board Members

For the fourth day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we want to thank the four new board members that were elected in June.

Along with the addition of new board members was the election of a new Chair of the Sask Sport Board of Directors.  

  • Bill Kinash – Chair of the Sask Sport Board of Directors  
  • Joel Brown – Board Member 
  • Kendra Farmer – Board Member 
  • Amy Prokop – Board Member 
  • Mike Thorson – Board Member 
Day 5 – Young Athletes

On day five of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we celebrate the many young athletes that participate in sport in the province and represent Saskatchewan at various levels of competitions. Here are just a few of the athletes making us Sask Proud! 

  • Saskatchewan curler, Madison Kleiter has followed in her family’s footsteps, competing at the provincial and national level and earned multiple scholarships and awards this last year. 
  • Kaley Starr is a young multi-sport athlete that took her passion for sport all the way to Kjipuktuk (Halifax) and claimed a gold medal in athletics at the North American Indigenous Games, after being introduced to the sport a year prior. 
  • Sydney Carroll has her eyes on Paris 2024, wanting to represent Canada in artistic swim, an achievement that her mom, diving athlete turned diving coach, Mary Carroll, obtained in 1992. 
  • From provincial teams to national teams, there are multiple athletes that helped bring success to Saskatchewan water polo teams. 
  • The North American Indigenous Games offered Danika Dureau the chance to play a high level of lacrosse, represent her province and be able to embrace her culture. 
  • Isaiah Gauthier was able to reach for his dreams at the Canadian National Blind Hockey Tournament, skating on the very ice that once was home to his favorite hockey team. 
  • Ember Frigon attended the world’s largest indoor archery tournament with more than 4,000 other competitors. 
  • Macie Parenteau attended the North American Indigenous Games as a participant in two sports and then headed down south on a softball scholarship to Dawson Community College in Montana. 
Day 6 – Women in Sport

For the sixth day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we give a shout out to girls and women in sport who continue to break down barriers.  

  • Saskatoon welcomed a new football league, Female Athletes Tackling Excellence (FATE) this year. The team is the first high-school girl tackle football league in the city and was led by an all-female coaching staff. 
  • Women are involved in sport in different capacities, including Erin Stankewich, who was named the new executive director for the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. 
  • Julee Stewart received her second Congressional Cup win in baton twirling for the second year in a row, but stepped up in medal rankings, taking home gold.  
  • Sask Sport celebrated International Women’s Day by sharing the voices of multiple women who have key roles in Saskatchewan’s sporting community. 
  • There are five Saskatchewan connections to the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) debuting in 2024, including Chelsea Purcell and Emily Clark. 
Day 7- Sport. It’s More Than A Game. Ambassadors

For the seventh Day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, let’s hear from our seven Sport. It’s More Than A Game. ambassadors as they describe how sport has impacted them both on and off the field of play

The seven ambassadors represent the Saskatchewan amateur sport community through different roles and share their stories to encourage others to explore the benefits of sport. 

Day 8 – Celebrating Coaches

On the eighth day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we say “Thanks Coach!” to the more than 20,000 trained coaches in Saskatchewan who devote their time, skills and effort into guiding every level of athlete. 

  • Brock Perry had a successful debut as a coach, leading the male Saskatchewan 16U softball team to gold at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games.  
  • Eric Bestvater leads the Rebels Cheerleading team by example, ensuring the group can experience a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment.  
  • Garrett Peters was named the interim head coach of the McMaster Marauders women’s soccer team and set a goal to qualify for the U SPORTS National Championship. 

Day 9 – Passion for Sport

The ninth day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport is meant to share Saskatchewan’s appreciation of sport and acknowledge the various individuals who use their passion for sport to help the community.  

  • Mark Bracken has announced his retirement set for March 2024, after serving the Saskatchewan sport and recreation community in various ways for 38 years. 
  • Jordan Weeden is Chair of the Saskatchewan Blind Sports Association and shares his journey with volunteering in a Q and A. 
  • Eric Honetschlager has spent his lifetime volunteering after experiencing a sport injury forced him to stay involved in sport in another way. 

Day 10 – Champions of NAIG

The tenth day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport will look back to the tenth edition of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), which was held in and around Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Dartmouth, Millbrook First Nation and Sipeke’katik in July.

The multi-sport event has a rich history and was first proposed as a concept in 1975. NAIG offers youth the opportunity to compete with other individuals who have similar interests in sport. 

At the 2023 Games, more than 5,000 athletes, coaches and supports attended from across Canada, with 500 hailing from Saskatchewan. We want to congratulate all those who attended from Saskatchewan and were named overall champions after tallying 175 total medals, 51 of which were gold. 


Day 11 – Multi-Sport Events

On day eleven of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport we want to high-five the athletes, coaches, supports and staff who attended the numerous multi-sport events held both provincially and nationally in 2023.  

Saskatchewan’s 11-person contingent traveled to Germany from June 17-15 for the 2023 Special Olympics. Eight athletes finished with a combined 12 medals, five of which were gold. Ben Lozinsku, Jackie Powell and Megan Penno attended the Games as coaches and earned the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award for their dedication on the international stage. 

From February 15 to March 5, 217 athletes attended the Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island on behalf of Saskatchewan and earned an overall total of 20 medals, three of which were gold.   

The Tony Cote First Nation Winter Games were held from April 7-13 in Saskatoon and featured badminton, curling, hockey, table tennis, volleyball and traditional hand games. 

Regina played host to the Saskatchewan Winter Games for the first time ever from February 19-25 and featured close to 1,600 athletes from around the province. 

Day 12 – Athlete of the Month Recipients

For the twelfth day of Sask Sport’s 12 Days of Sport, we look back to the past year of Athlete of the Month recipients and celebrate their achievements. Our December 2023 Athlete of the Month nomination is still open for submission until January 2, 2024.